10 Replies
Julie Stelter

Hi Amanda,

You are correct there is not a lot of research on specific learning disabilities and accessibility. I have not heard of a font that is specific to address dyslexia. However, using sans-serif fonts are considered to be accessible. The answer may be in the font's kerning or perhaps its letter-spacing. Perhaps you could find information about dyslexia and print?

Here are some other tips.

  • Avoid full justification because it creates a river of white space that can be distracting to anyone.
  • Spacing between lines may also impact a person with dyslexia. Type is considered accessible if the line spacing within paragraphs is at least 1.5 times the font.
  • The amount of space between paragraphs should be at least 1.5 times the space between lines. 

Cheers,

Julie

David Goodman

Just out of curiosity - how/why do you correlate type face and type point with dyslexia? There are multiple aspects across the various dyslexia symptoms each with differing needs requiring different and correct interventions. It seems that you may be focusing on some visual cues that are being exhibited which may not be visually/font related but rather brain related. Changing fonts will not change what the brain does with what is being read. As an instructional designer, you might need to look at screen layout, open space, having the correct image cues that relate to the content, length of the sentence line across the page (2 column layout versus one long line), etc. My response is based upon many dinner conversations with my wife who teaches children with special learning needs including dyslexia. Regards.

Amanda Bishop

Thank you for your comments. I am looking into this because I have a SME who wants me to use dyslexiefont in our courses, and I'm trying to figure out if it improves readability or is just more distracting. He said that it really helps his son, who has dyslexia, so I'm taking his testimonial into account, and I'd like to get some other perspectives as well.

Julie Stelter

Thank you Amanda for starting this thread and all of you for providing resources! The application of using this font in eLearning courses could be costly since it would currently require a specific course for dyslexic readers. I applaud you at looking for the research in its usability.

I'm wondering about a less expensive solution. Perhaps publishing the course as a Word document and then change the font in Word and provide the word doc in the resource tab. According to 508 standards this would be acceptable. But what is acceptable according to the DOJ is not always usable to the learner with the disability. It is also not best practice to have users self-identify their accessibility needs. Accessibility is a tricky and sticky issue. Good communication between practitioners is important. 

Perhaps you can run your own tests and contribute to the research? That is if you didn't already have enough on your plate ;)  

Cheers,

Julie

Cary Glenn

There seem to be limited studies that "dyslexic" fonts are effective. There is quite a bit of research showing that hard-to-read fonts improve learning and recall for all readers including people with dyslexia. 

One study suggested that Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana are all suitable for people with dyslexia and to avoid italic fonts.